Introduction: In Brugada syndrome, ventricular fibrillation (VF) occurs mainly during sleep, and Brugada ECG signs are intensified by parasympathomimetic drugs; therefore, vagal activity could be a precipitating factor of VF. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the relation between spontaneous augmentation of ST elevation and changes in autonomic nervous activities in the daily life of patients with Brugada syndrome.
Methods and results: Twenty-three consecutive patients with Brugada syndrome were studied. Group VF(+) consisted of 7 symptomatic patients and 3 asymptomatic patients with inducible VF; group VF(-) consisted of 13 asymptomatic patients without documented or inducible VF. Two-channel unipolar lead (V(1) and V(2)) Holter ECG was recorded. Heart rate variability was analyzed by the maximum entropy method. Spontaneous augmentation of ST elevation (>/=1.5 mm/20 min) occurred more frequently during 24 hours in group VF(+) than in group VF(-) (5.7 +/- 2.5 times vs 2.3 +/- 2.4 times, P < 0.01). ST elevation was significantly greater in group VF(+) than in group VF(-) (2.1 +/- 0.2 mm vs 1.8 +/- 0.2 mm, P < 0.05). Power of the high-frequency component (HF: 0.15-0.4 Hz) and RR interval increased progressively, and the ratio of low-frequency component (LF; 0.04- 0.15 Hz) to high-frequency component (LF/HF) gradually decreased toward the time of maximum ST elevation. During an entire day, daytime (0-5 P.M.), and nighttime (0-5 A.M.), both HF and LF/HF were not different between groups VF(+) and VF(-).
Conclusion: In Brugada syndrome, spontaneous augmentation of ST elevation in daily life occurred along with an increase in vagal activity. ST elevation was augmented more in patients with VF than in those without VF under similar vagal tone.